Paul Priestner

Hometown and Current residence: Abilene, Tx. and Springdale, AR

Family and Occupation: Married with 3 boys (22, 20, 15).  Commissioning Authority (Professional Engineering Services)

Swimming background: High School – Abilene Cooper High; College – Texas Tech (swimming program dropped after my freshman year), and TCU.  Marine Combat Instructor of Water Survival, USMC (1990-1995); Age Group, Masters and High School coach (1995-2003) Abilene and Dallas TX.  Coached and developed several National/Olympic qualifiers and was selected as the Texas High School Swimming Coach of the Year 2003.

Favorite event/race:Free/Fly sprints (shorter the better!)

Swimming hero:   I have many but was humbled on many occasions by Matt Biondi.  We competed together at meets in 1987.  I went undefeated in the 50 free in 1987 until facing Matt:  We were in different prelim heats but ended up in the finals next to each other (he was seeded first and I was third).  I was always very proud of my height (6’4″) and fast start.  Matt did this thing called a “track start” that I had never seen before and was a GIANT at 6’7″.  The starter announced, “Swimmers, take your mark.”  Then, BANG (still had gun starts then).  I had a great start… fast reaction, strong.  As I was preparing my streamline in the air, anticipating a perfect entry, I took note of Matt’s feet…He was a body length ahead of me in the air!  I recorded my personal best time in that race while watching Matt’s flutter kick technique.  He was an amazing presence around and in the pool.

Swimming goals: Get back into decent swimming shape and resume competing in Masters.

Advice to new masters swimmers: Listen to your coaches and mentors.  Strike up conversations with fellow Masters; there is amazing experience and knowledge out there.

Hobbies: Woodworking, Restoring antique vehicles, and making hot sauce, and annoying my kids with “bad dad jokes.”

Favorite drills: I have always been a stroke technician both as a competitor and as a coach, so I appreciate drills focusing on technique.

Do you participate in other sports? Spent my youth in Canada playing hockey and speedskating.  When we emigrated to West Texas and couldn’t find ice, I had to find a new sport.  I figured a pool was just a warm version of ice.

Where do you currently swim? Fayetteville Athletic Club and The Jones Center.

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